The 10 Most Common Grammar Mistakes to Avoid

Posted on November 3, 2013

Blogging is all about keeping it fresh. Speaking clearly and directly to your audience is important to ensure your message is easy to understand and reader-friendly.

But that’s no excuse to neglect spelling and grammar.

There’s no need to resort to text message shorthand to make a point. Blogging is still writing and grammar rules are rules for a reason.

Striking that perfect balance between being charmingly colloquial and, at the same time, inherently professional can be a little difficult.

To help you out, here are 10 super simple grammar mistakes to keep an eye out for so as not to upset your more literarily-inclined demographic:

1) Then instead of than

This one can be a bit tricky. A good thing to remember is that the word then usually relates to a point in time and is most commonly used as an adverb.

Example: She won the first and then the second game

The word than, on the other hand, introduces a comparison. It typically hangs around words like more, less and fewer.

Example: She is a better athlete than I

2) Literally

A pet peeve of many readers is the incorrect use of the word literally. For reference, literally means “actually” or “in the strict sense of the word.” Not to be confused with the word figuratively, which is used in the metaphorical sense.

Example: He took the remark literally

3) Who and whom

For this little grammatical quandry, use the he/him method to determine which word you should use:

He = who
Him = whom

Example: Who/Whom stole my bike? He stole my bike. Therefore, who is correct

4) Affect and effect

While they may sound almost identical in conversation, the two words have very different meanings. Affect is a verb, meaning to cause something to happen. Effect is a noun, which is the result of something having happened.

Example: The music affected him deeply/His protest had no effect

5) Envy and jealousy

Surprisingly, these two words are not interchangeable. Envy is the emotion felt when you want what someone else has, whereas jealousy is what you feel when you’re worried someone is trying to take what is already yours.

Example: If you want your friend’s new car, you feel envy. If your friend takes your wife for a ride, you feel jealousy

6) E.g. and i.e.

E.g. is an abbreviation for the Latin phrase exempli gratia and means “for example.”

Example: Buy some vegetables, e.g., carrots.

I.e. is an abbreviation for the Latin phrase id est and means “that is.”

Example: I went to my least favorite place (i.e., the dentist).

7) Anyone and any one

This one should be simple enough. The word anyone refers to any person.

Example: Has anyone seen my wallet?

While any one refers to an unidentified individual.

Example: If any one of your friends knows, please tell them to keep quiet

8) It’s and its

It’s is a contraction for “it is” or “it has”. An easy way to check the proper usage is to see if the sentence still makes sense if you replace it’s with the full version of the contraction.

Example: It’s my bedtime

Its without the apostrophe indicates possession and is not a contraction.

Example: Every dog has its day

9) Alot

Contrary to popular usage, the word alot does not actually exist. It is often mistakenly written instead of a lot (to the bane of high school teachers everywhere.)

Example: He cheats a lot

10) There, their or they’re

Be prepared for some intense literary chaos if you make a habit of mixing these three words up:

They’re is simply short for “they are.”

Example: They’re just like us

The word their shows possession. It’s just like my, his, her, and our.

Example: They made their way to the car

And last but not least, the word there indicates a place. It’s similar to here.

Example: Look over there!

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